Mac and Cheese With a Surprise!

Mac and Cheese1
Surprise?  Are you wondering what kind of surprise might be hidden in this mac and cheese?

Can you guess?  Look carefully….

It’s cauliflower, pureed into a delicious sauce along with chicken broth, Dijon mustard, and Gouda cheese.
The inspiration for this recipe came from Runner’s World Magazine.  Each month a healthy recipe is featured, this one by chef Mark Bittman.  Scroll down for a printable recipe.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 Cauliflower, cored and cut into large pieces
16 oz macaroni
1 1/2 cups cheese
2 T EVOO
1 T Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cups whole-grain bread crumbs

1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Core cauliflower and cut into large chunks.  Boil cauliflower for 25 min.
3.  Heat chicken broth and bay leaves over low heat.
4.  When cauliflower is finished, remove from water with a slotted spoon and put cauliflower into a food processor along with chicken broth, EVOO, cheese, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
5.  Add macaroni to boiling water and cook for 7 minutes.  Drain and put into a greased 13×9 casserole dish.
6.  Pour sauce over macaroni and stir to combine.  Top with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
7.  Bake for 20 minutes.

I made this recipe as a test and was surprised at how much we both liked it.  I served it with sautéed fresh spinach and garlic.
Mac and Cheese3

Meatless meals aren’t unusual for us.  We both like to eat meat, but neither of us thinks twice if we don’t have it with a meal.
Mac and Cheese2

I like a recipe that makes a lot so that there are leftovers. We’ll enjoy this as a side for a few more meals.

Mac and Cheese With a Surprise!
 
Cook time
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Cauliflower, pureed into a delicious sauce along with chicken broth, Dijon mustard, and Gouda cheese, is the secret ingredient in this healthy version of classic macaroni and cheese.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Cauliflower, cored and cut into large pieces
  • 16 oz macaroni
  • 1½ cups cheese
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cups whole-grain bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Core cauliflower and cut into large chunks.  Boil cauliflower for 25 min.
  3. Heat chicken broth and bay leaves over low heat.
  4. When cauliflower is finished, remove from water with a slotted spoon and put cauliflower into a food processor along with chicken broth, EVOO, cheese, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  5. Add macaroni to boiling water and cook for 7 minutes.  Drain and put into a greased 13x9 casserole dish.
  6. Pour sauce over macaroni and stir to combine.  Top with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.

Spinach

To make the spinach, heat a few tablespoons of EVOO in a stockpot (I used the one that I cooked the macaroni and cauliflower in so that I wouldn’t have to wash two pots).  Add chopped garlic and sauté  for a minute or two.  Add sliced, fresh spinach and toss with tongs until it wilts.  Season with salt to taste.

Do you eat meatless meals?

Healthy and Light Macaroni and Cheese - This mac and cheese tastes great but is light thanks to a secret ingredient, cauliflower!  Get the recipe at virginiasweetpea.com  #macandcheese #reducedccaloriemacandcheese #lowcalorie #lowcaloriemacandcheese

Comments

  1. that’s a YUMMY plate!! What a great idea! I don’t make mac and cheese for us much as hubby has given up dairy, but it sure looks delicious!

    Suzanne

  2. I saw that in Runner’s World and had forgotten to try it out! My kids love cauliflower so I thought it would be a great new recipe to try out. Thanks for the reminder. Your photos make it look mouthwateringly yummy.

  3. Yum, yum and double YUM. I am always looking for ways to use other veggies. So wish we were neighbors so we could cook together!

  4. Keetha Broyles says:

    I was watching an episode of “Outrageous Food” on The Food Network and they had a mac ‘n cheese that was loaded with shrimp, lobster, crab meat, and steak.

    WHAT?!? I never think of mac ‘n cheese as having anything but mac ‘n cheese!

    That spinach looks to die for.

  5. Miss Char says:

    Well I’ll skip the spinach thank you very much but the mac and cheese looks fabulous. Perfect for Shannon’s meatless Mondays!

  6. That looks delicious! Definitely want to try that recipe. Gotta love a good mac & cheese, and if it’s slightly healthy? yes please! Oh, and my parents have some same dishes! I’ve eaten so many family meals off those plates 🙂

  7. Blondie's Journal says:

    What a nice change from the same old macaroni and cheese! Thanks for the recipe, Paula!

    XO,
    Jane

  8. Southern Lady says:

    That’s a great way to sneak some veggies in on my kids!! Thanks for sharing. Carla

  9. Melissa Miller says:

    Thanks Paula! I love the sounds of both and I’ll try them soon. The cauliflower added in sounds tasty too.

  10. FrouFrouBritches says:

    This looks YUMMY! I’ll totally try this. It’s always great when I can sneak in a veggie – for the kids AND me!

    I like Mark Bittman. He’s the one that made the Spaghetti with Fried Eggs I posted a few weeks ago.

  11. Domestic Designer says:

    This looks really yummy! I am always looking for ways to “lighten up” some of my favorite comfort foods. I will definitely try this. Thanks!
    DD

  12. Jennifer says:

    Yummmmmmm I loooooove cauli with cheese1 =) and spinach too! <3

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  13. KM @ This Plate is Full says:

    considering how high Mac N-Cheese is on my fav foods list – your title totally got me!!!!
    I NEED to try this!
    thanks for posting!!!

  14. Southern Fried Gal says:

    YES on meatless meals. OMG – love the addition of cauliflower to the mac and cheese. Thank you for sharing!

    I make spinach like that and toss it with gnocchi for another fabulous meatless dish.

  15. ShannonPinNOLA says:

    I am definitely adding this to my list of “Meatless Monday” recipes to try. Looks yummy! Thanks for the shout out.

  16. Trying this recipe tonight!

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